Brother XII
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Basic Information

Edward Arthur Wilson was a cultist who created a spiritual community on a temperate forest island in British Columbia in the 1920s.

Wilson, better known as "Brother XII", sought to create a self-sufficient island community amongst the douglas firs, and was able to realize this ambition through the donations of a mysterious patron of considerable wealth. Believing himself to be the incarnation of the egyptian god Osiris, Brother XII's rule became increasingly paranoid as his spiritual utopia devolved into a tight dictatorship.

He drew in a small fortune in gold, along with his mistress, the cruel "Madame Z". Both worked the cultists mercilessly, draining every ounce of profit from their bodies and forcing them to live in humble island shacks - the price to pay for "Religious Enlightenment".

Eventually, a prisoner who had been confined in the island's "Prison" was able to escape, swimming to a nearby island (the city of Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island) and alerting the British Columbia Provincial Police. Brother XII destroyed his community in a fury, and escaped police notice after receiving a notice to appear in court. It is said he died before the outset of WW2, though he may have faked his own death.


Wikipedia Entry

Game and Story Uses

  • Self-sufficient island cults are a staple of fantasy games. In a typical high fantasy setting, Brother XII could be the 12th incarnation of the god of death, or he could be a charming deceiver. His deluded workers could be ghouls, having voluntarily taken the curse of undeath in response to the brother's preachings. Or they could be simple townsfolk who believe firmly in his views - imagine the PCs having to fight through angry commoners to get to the bad guys… they could either kill, or somehow find ways to circumvent the furious cultists.
  • Madame Z could be the real cause of the problem, with Brother XII simply falling prey to her charms and wiles. Perhaps she is a succubus, tainting the religious convictions of a former high priest to a good god - in this case, Brother XII would be something of a tragic figure.
  • Brother XII works very well in a modern, Call-of-Cthulu type game. In fact, it is the quintessential scenario for a cult-based game. In fact, the cult even took place in the 1920s - the base time frame of the Call of Cthulu game! Getting off the island on Brother XII's "Flagship" (the Lady Royal) before whatever eldritch horror Brother XII has unleashed on the land could be a great final scene for any adventure.
  • Or, switch the scenario. Especially in a modern setting, the following scenario works quite well: the PCs are sent to investigate the cult, and at first are unsettled by what they see. As they come to see the benefits of Brother XII's "Preaching" (perhaps he can cure cancer, but only through hard work, and that money he gets is used to fly other sick to the island… after being cured, you have to work hard for six months before you can go back to your life, cancer-free), the PCs appreciate Brother XII, even if he is something of a religious fanatic. In this scenario, Madame Z could be an enemy, or an ally - or a plot complication if she starts following the PCs over Brother XII! The latter half of the adventure involves the PCs dealing with the Police, who are sent to break up this religious community.
    • This also fits well in a fantasy setting: magical healing is expensive, what happens to those who can't pay up front? If you have a realistic feudal setting, the members of the community could be former serfs who were dispossessed because they were unable to work their customary duties and are thus free to relocate. The cult simply heals them and they become serfs again, this time bound to the community rather than the manor… this would be entirely non-sinister in context and would give them no reason to be supporting PC efforts to overturn their new landlords.
  • A wrinkle … the PCs get the report from the escapee and go/are sent to investigate. They find … nobody. The community is like a Marie Celeste on dry land. So what happened?
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